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  1. #21
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    My DH has a 14 daughter that lives with us full time. For the first 13 years of her life, he worked all the time and rarely did anything with her. He wanted to be "the provider" for his family instead of being a "dad". When I walked into the picture, he was feeling very guilty for not being there for her and was trying to make it up to her...by spoiling her rotten. The kid was a brat to him, to me, to everyone! Finally, I had all I could take and I left. I told him I wasn't coming back until there were some expectations of the child.

    He ended up sitting down with her and her mom and revamping their entire relationship. His ex-wife had also treated me like crap. He put his foot down with both of them and I moved back in.

    We worked it out that two days a week are "our days". Usually these are the two days she is at her mom's, but even if she is home, we do our own thing together. I work evening shift, so him and his daughter get to spend time together without me. He does at least one "special" thing with me each week and one "special" thing with her. That way, no one feels left out.

    To be honest, I used to be jealous of the time he spent with her and felt like I was second (or third) in line. Now, we all work together as a family and everyone seems to truly be happy. It has taken a long time to get to this point, but I actually enjoy spending time with DD and she even has told me I'm more of a mom to her than her own mom...which makes my heart melt. Now, I'm so happy to be with a man that LOVES his daughter and is doing right by her. So many men don't. I have a son that Sean treats as his own. I can honestly say Sean is one of the best father's I've ever seen..today he took off work to take his daughter on a field-trip with her school. That seems so small, but it meant the world to her.

    My biggest suggestion is tell him how you feel and give time, time.
    Boarding for Show, Pleasure, and Retirement horses. www.LockeMeadows.com


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  2. #22
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    Jun. 14, 2006
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    I think it's awfully early to ask someone who isn't married and hasn't had years to get to know the kids whether or not she can love them, has a good relationship with them, etc. That stuff takes TIME. Not only for the adult but for the KIDS.

    You can't force that relationship. And the KIDS need time too. There are all sorts of feelings for the kids that can be difficult--like thinking that if they like Dad's girlfriend or wife, they're somehow "cheating" on mom and being disloyal.

    You don't love people instantly. I love my husband. I love my stepdaughters too. But we've had years and counseling to get us here. It takes time. I feel very momma bear about the girls, but I still feel awkward telling them I love them. Even though I do. I really do. But we are still muddling through and trying to define our relationship. FInding your role in the kids' lives can be tough. Are you the "fun aunt" type? The "mom" type? In a 50/50 when it's not just weekend fun, it is HARD because you have to be an adult in the house but you want to be friendly and you don't want to piss off SO and you don't want to make enemies with the kids. It's like walking on eggshells sometimes til you find your groove!

    Part time dad comment really bothers me when we are already talking about a 50/50. We're not talking about EOWE Disney Dad. The kids live with dad, do the normal week stuff with dad including homework, extra curriculars, etc. It's life. It's normal daily life stuff. That's not part time really. Unless you want to say that Mom is part time too.

    The gender bias is not fair.

    I don't want to go too far into my situation and hijack, but lets just say that I have the kids more than mom does during certain periods. And that's with Dad out of town working. And I have been paying for all their medical and dental and extra curriculars. And hair. And clothes. And shoes. So while we are figuring out our relationship, please don't say that if I'm a little resentful that Dad comes home after being gone for a few months and chooses to watch iCarly with them all afternoon instead of spending some time with his NEW WIFE that I'm an ass. I want part of him too. BUt he's got a lot of people who want that and the kids NEED it. I NEED him too. But because I'm the adult, I take a back seat. That's fine to a point, but what is the point of being with someone if you're always #2 or 3 or 4?
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by MumboJumbo View Post
    Thank you for this. It helps me to know that I am not the only person who has ever gone through this. None of my close friends have found themselves in this situation, so I don't have anyone else to ask. I appreciate your response
    You are more than welcome... please feel free to stay in touch if you want to. I owe my sanity to another stepmom that I met when that gig was new to me and having someone to compare notes with - and yes, commiserate with at times - definitely was a lifesaver.
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina



  4. #24
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    LockeMeadows-that is a very sensible method of quality allocation, and maybe we should all do something like that weekly. It's so easy these days to get distracted from other things with all of the electronics, the busy schedules and just living day to day. Maybe scheduled time together to just enjoy the relationship is a good thing.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White


    1 members found this post helpful.

  5. #25
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    I will echo what BRoo posted above as well. It's easy to tell a woman who is a stepmom that, "it's only right for the kids to come first!" and treat her like some sort of jerk if she wants a little time/attention... or, god forbid, to come first once in a blue moon. Of *course* parents should place tremendous importance on their children... but not to the exclusion of other family members.

    Finding that balance can be a real b*tch, but it takes everyone being willing to work on it for it to happen.
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina



  6. #26
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    Sep. 9, 2007
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    It is a HUGE adjustment. The guy I was dating had his 2 kids living with him full time. He felt so much guilt for the fact that mother left them that he was always trying to make up for it. We almost never went out to dinner because he didn't want to leave them alone. At 11 & 14 they both play on the computers all day/night. To get them to do a physical activity was like killing them. If we took them shopping they were fine as long as the shopping revolved around them. If I wanted to look at stuff it was a battle.

    We split up because of other reasons.
    OTTB - Hurricane Denton - Kane AKA Bubble boy
    Boxer - Tugger's - outlasted my marriage



  7. #27
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    .
    Last edited by MumboJumbo; Dec. 7, 2012 at 10:29 PM.



  8. #28
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    .
    Last edited by MumboJumbo; Dec. 7, 2012 at 10:30 PM.



  9. #29
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    Sep. 7, 2009
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    How is SO's relationship with his ex. My sister married her husband after his divorce. He had a 1 yr old at the time. They spent 15 years in court battles over custody and child support. Finally, the last time, the court told the ex-wife that was it, and awarded custody to my brother-in-law. My sister said, looking back, if she knew the hell she was going to be dragged through she would have never married him.

    On the other hand, we were talking about my nephew one day, about how smart he is and she said it was inheritance from her side We both cracked up when she realized what she said.

    Nephew no longer sees his mother and calls my sister Mom.
    Last edited by LauraKY; Nov. 8, 2012 at 03:52 PM. Reason: spelling
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant


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  10. #30
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    I don't think it's productive to look at the situation as, 'I'm dating a man, who has a child.' The reality is, you are dating them both. They're a packaged deal.

    When I met my DH, I had sworn I wasn't interested in divorced guys, especially if they had kids, unless the ex-wife was dead. So much for that. I married a custodial father of two children and became an instant full-time SM.

    Kids take a lot of time. While DH was big on family time, one thing I've learned as a SM and from my SD dealing the the remarriage of her mother is that SKs often feel like there's a competition for attention. While you find yourself jealous of having a "part-time" SO, realize that the child may struggle with the idea of having a "part-time" dad. That's something to respect as you ease in. It's difficult for a kid when they visit their non-custodial parent and the g/f or b/f is always there.

    It's not selfish, IMO, to want certain things form a partner. If your SO can't fulfill those wants or needs because there's a kid, then he may not be "the one" for you. The child is a constant. Until the child is 18, child support may be a constant. Does he pay child support? Will you resent how much BM receives? For that matter, BM will be around. Does your SO have a good relationship with her? Are they friendly or hostile to one another? She can end up having a big impact on your relationship with your SO and with the child.
    Jer 29: 11-13



  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucassb View Post
    I will echo what BRoo posted above as well. It's easy to tell a woman who is a stepmom that, "it's only right for the kids to come first!" and treat her like some sort of jerk if she wants a little time/attention... or, god forbid, to come first once in a blue moon. Of *course* parents should place tremendous importance on their children... but not to the exclusion of other family members.

    Finding that balance can be a real b*tch, but it takes everyone being willing to work on it for it to happen.
    Quote Originally Posted by MumboJumbo View Post
    I totally agree and appreciate this post. I think part of the issue is that SO feels guilty about the divorce and always put his time with child first. I'm not really sure how to broach that with him as he is very sensitive about it.
    If I can make a gentle suggestion... it would be to do whatever is necessary to avoid making this a zero sum game. Do not allow the situation to be characterized as one person (you) getting something at the expense of the other (child.)

    Rather, the challenge is to develop a family dynamic that works for everyone, most of the time... and coming up with a way to address the things that *don't* work in a manner where everyone's feelings are respected.

    Yes, divorced parents feel guilty. Some of that is understandable and reasonable, of course. And then there is a degree of guilt which becomes unreasonable and leads to things like overindulging the children, failing to establish reasonable rules of behavior, etc. That does no one any favors - most of all the children, who, far from ending up happy, wind up becoming manipulative, spoiled, bratty... and miserable.

    In my humble opinion, creating a structure where everyone can get their needs (and wants!) met in a reasonable fashion is an area where having an experienced, neutral third party (ie, counselor, therapist etc) can be an enormous help. That unemotional person that everybody regards as something of an expert - one with no agenda - can say things and be heard in a way that one of the "interested parties" simply cannot.

    Creating some structure, at least at the beginning, can be very useful. Regular "date nights" and that sort of thing do tend to make it easier for everyone to get some of their needs/wants met... without having to "fight for" or negotiate for that time on a regular basis.

    I think there also needs to be some sort of agreed upon process for each person to raise an issue if needed, knowing that they will be heard and that there is an agreed upon process to resolve whatever has cropped up.

    Finally, I think it is absolutely critical for the adults in that situation to have an agreement to work things out privately in the event there is a disagreement. Have some sort of code word/signal/white flag that indicates to the other person that this is something we need to work out in private... not in front of the child (or ex, etc.) And then that signal needs to be absolutely respected. Have agreements ahead of time about how changes in the schedule will be handled. What if the ex calls and wants to change x to y? It may be fine, but in our house, the only answer that was acceptable was, "Let me talk to Lucassb and I will get right back to you." Period, full stop. We made those decisions together. Same for requests/arrangements with my stepson. "Dad, can we do X on Saturday?" was met with, "That might be fun. Let me figure out what is going on this weekend and then we can talk about it at dinner."

    Some of that sounds so stilted that I almost hesitate to write it. But it *really* helped.
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina


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  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucassb View Post
    If I can make a gentle suggestion... it would be to do whatever is necessary to avoid making this a zero sum game. Do not allow the situation to be characterized as one person (you) getting something at the expense of the other (child.)

    Rather, the challenge is to develop a family dynamic that works for everyone, most of the time... and coming up with a way to address the things that *don't* work in a manner where everyone's feelings are respected.

    Yes, divorced parents feel guilty. Some of that is understandable and reasonable, of course. And then there is a degree of guilt which becomes unreasonable and leads to things like overindulging the children, failing to establish reasonable rules of behavior, etc. That does no one any favors - most of all the children, who, far from ending up happy, wind up becoming manipulative, spoiled, bratty... and miserable.

    In my humble opinion, creating a structure where everyone can get their needs (and wants!) met in a reasonable fashion is an area where having an experienced, neutral third party (ie, counselor, therapist etc) can be an enormous help. That unemotional person that everybody regards as something of an expert - one with no agenda - can say things and be heard in a way that one of the "interested parties" simply cannot.

    Creating some structure, at least at the beginning, can be very useful. Regular "date nights" and that sort of thing do tend to make it easier for everyone to get some of their needs/wants met... without having to "fight for" or negotiate for that time on a regular basis.

    I think there also needs to be some sort of agreed upon process for each person to raise an issue if needed, knowing that they will be heard and that there is an agreed upon process to resolve whatever has cropped up.

    Finally, I think it is absolutely critical for the adults in that situation to have an agreement to work things out privately in the event there is a disagreement. Have some sort of code word/signal/white flag that indicates to the other person that this is something we need to work out in private... not in front of the child (or ex, etc.) And then that signal needs to be absolutely respected. Have agreements ahead of time about how changes in the schedule will be handled. What if the ex calls and wants to change x to y? It may be fine, but in our house, the only answer that was acceptable was, "Let me talk to Lucassb and I will get right back to you." Period, full stop. We made those decisions together. Same for requests/arrangements with my stepson. "Dad, can we do X on Saturday?" was met with, "That might be fun. Let me figure out what is going on this weekend and then we can talk about it at dinner."

    Some of that sounds so stilted that I almost hesitate to write it. But it *really* helped.
    .
    Last edited by MumboJumbo; Dec. 7, 2012 at 10:30 PM.


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  13. #33
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    Dec. 29, 1999
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    Depends on how much "S" is in "SO" as to whether you move on or not.

    On the plus side, if you yourself have no desire to have a child, the pressure's off! I do know a fabulous young single woman and children are deal-breakers for her. Kids? Nope. Won't even consider dating someone with kids. I know she doesn't want children of her own, but of course a lot of guys do and I would say, but look, this guy isn't going to pressure you into having children, he already HAS children. You're off the hook!

    For my friend it's still a deal-breaker, but for you it might be a +. Also, there's always room for more love. Open your heart to this little one and IMO you will be richly rewarded in the long run. Besides, if this is a long term relationship, children do grow up and move away. (I know, I know, probably a whole other thread on adult children moving back home). But still.



  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by MumboJumbo View Post
    He gets very touchy if I bring up anything dealing remotely with his time with child. I agree that a counselor may be a good option, as I think we both need to hear it from a neutral party in words that make sense.
    Well, sure he's touchy about it. This kid is young, so maybe the single parenthood thing is fairly new to him? He's probably feeling stress & guilt in huge quantities, maybe the child is having difficulties adjusting to the separation, he sure as heck misses her like crazy, and maybe the ex is making him feel like crap over this, too. In his defense this is much tougher for him & the child than for you. As someone else said, the guilt of the divorced parent and the attempts to deal with it are enormous. I can understand that he already feels bad enough and then to have his gf (of how long?) bring it up, too, well, that's hard.



  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne FS View Post
    Well, sure he's touchy about it. This kid is young, so maybe the single parenthood thing is fairly new to him? He's probably feeling stress & guilt in huge quantities, maybe the child is having difficulties adjusting to the separation, he sure as heck misses her like crazy, and maybe the ex is making him feel like crap over this, too. In his defense this is much tougher for him & the child than for you. As someone else said, the guilt of the divorced parent and the attempts to deal with it are enormous. I can understand that he already feels bad enough and then to have his gf (of how long?) bring it up, too, well, that's hard.
    .
    Last edited by MumboJumbo; Dec. 7, 2012 at 10:37 PM.



  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne FS View Post
    Well, sure he's touchy about it. This kid is young, so maybe the single parenthood thing is fairly new to him? He's probably feeling stress & guilt in huge quantities, maybe the child is having difficulties adjusting to the separation, he sure as heck misses her like crazy, and maybe the ex is making him feel like crap over this, too. In his defense this is much tougher for him & the child than for you. As someone else said, the guilt of the divorced parent and the attempts to deal with it are enormous. I can understand that he already feels bad enough and then to have his gf (of how long?) bring it up, too, well, that's hard.
    Situations like that are hard on everybody involved... it is not necessarily tougher on the Dad, although IME, this is a very common view.

    As a stepmom myself, I am admittedly sensitive about this topic, but I don't think it is fair to characterize the OP's legitimate issues as "piling on," to her SO's difficult situation. Blended families are very challenging for everyone involved, often for different reasons; judging who is more affected implies that the other person should just put their own needs/desires aside, which tends not to be a good long term solution.
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina



  17. #37
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    I never said "piling on," where'd you get that? And I didn't say it was tougher on the Dad than the other parent, which your post seems to imply. I will say that IMO it's tougher on the divorced parents and the little child than on the new bf or gf (not that it's easy on the new bf or gf). I said "Dad" in this case because we're not talking about somebody dating a single Mom, but a single Dad. Oh, believe me, I speak from experience when I say the Dad's troubles may not hold a candle to the living hell a jealous ex will put a woman w/children through when she finally tries to have a new social life.


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  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by MumboJumbo View Post
    I think part of my challenge is getting SO off his defensive horse and on board with TEAM. He gets very touchy if I bring up anything dealing remotely with his time with child.
    Have you ever spent any one-on-one time with the child?

    It may be he's not ready to think "team" because he's not comfortable with your relationship with his child. What steps have you taken to get to know the child?
    Jer 29: 11-13



  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by MumboJumbo View Post
    I never said that my SO should spend less time with child. I 100% agree that child needs SO as a parent and I would never suggest anything else.

    I am looking for people in similar situations and how they have moved forward. BuddyRoo's post was helpful and I will PM her.
    sorry you felt that my post was unhelpful... I did ask many questions in order to understand the situation better, but you answered none of them, so it's hard to give you advice...



  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne FS View Post
    I never said "piling on," where'd you get that? And I didn't say it was tougher on the Dad than the other parent, which your post seems to imply. I will say that IMO it's tougher on the divorced parents and the little child than on the new bf or gf (not that it's easy on the new bf or gf). I said "Dad" in this case because we're not talking about somebody dating a single Mom, but a single Dad. Oh, believe me, I speak from experience when I say the Dad's troubles may not hold a candle to the living hell a jealous ex will put a woman w/children through when she finally tries to have a new social life.
    Anne, no offense meant... I used "Dad" because the OP seems to be talking about a guy. I could have been clearer to say "the divorced parent"

    I guess I don't agree that a situation like that is harder on the divorced parent than on the GF (or BF) necessarily, and that is particularly true in situations where the GF (BF) ends up being a second spouse/step parent.

    The statement about
    I can understand that he already feels bad enough and then to have his gf (of how long?) bring it up, too, well, that's hard.
    seemed to me to be a bit of piling on. Apologies if I've misunderstood you.

    Again as I said, this is a sensitive subject with me because it's been my experience that people expect the NPS (non parent step person, LOL) to routinely bury their own needs and wants to accommodate the parent/kids involved, and I don't think that that's a fair balance. Just my $.02
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina



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